Current International Student Information
As an F1 visa-holder/international student, you're an important part of the Seminole State community. Below, you'll find information regarding commonly asked questions for international students. For additional information, please see the Maintaining F-1 Status page.
These resources are meant to provide general information and guidelines. If you have case-specific questions, please make an appointment with us.
F-1 students may remain in the United States for up to 60 days after the program completion date listed on their I-20. Students graduating early will have their I-20 updated to reflect the accurate completion date. Students may also use their 60 day grace period to transfer to another institution. After completing F-1 status at an institution, F-1 students have four options:
- Depart the United States within 60 days after graduation, completion of studies or the completion date on the I-20 form
- Continue with F-1 status by pursuing further F-1 studies at the same institution. A new I-20 is required before the 60 day grace period ends.
- Transfer to another institution within 60 days
- Begin Optional Practical Training (OPT). Students interested in post-completion OPT should apply during their final semester.
Note: Students are responsible for ensuring their I-20 remains valid. If additional time is needed to complete a program, you must contact the International Office for an extension on your I-20 before it expires. Extensions cannot be granted after the I-20 completion date passes.
International students from Canada follow different procedures.
- Apply to Seminole State. See the checklist for the documents you will need to apply.
- If you are accepted, we will send you an I-20 form. You will need this form to legally stay in the United States.
- When entering the U.S., you must have proof of citizenship and passport. This should include:
- A birth certificate
- A photo I.D. (this can include a passport)
- Take the following documents to the Canada/U.S. border:
- The I-20 form
- Financial documentation
- At the border, you must complete an I-94 form. This form has three sections:
- Arrival record card
- Departure record card
- The U.S. immigration officer will return the I-94 form to you. This is used as evidence of:
- Legal entry into the United States
- The student is an F-1 status student
Most international students in the United States hold an F-1 visa, which is the U.S. non-immigrant student visa. F-1 students are allowed to work in the United States, but only under certain conditions and in accordance with complex guidelines and restrictions issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
Generally, all employment is contingent on remaining within the terms and restrictions of your F-1 visa. There are several categories of employment during the term of your stay as an F-1 student in the United States
Students whose I-20 expires in 60 days or less and will be unable to complete their studies may be eligible to Request a Program Extension. Extensions can be granted only if the student is maintaining his/her status and making progress toward completing his/her educational objective. Delays caused by academic probation or suspensions are not an acceptable reason for program extension. If a student is not eligible for a program extension, he/she will be considered "out-of-status".
In order to extend their F-1 visa, students must apply to renew the visa at a U.S. Embassy. This process cannot be completed within the United States, so students must renew their visas at an embassy in another country, per Department of State guidelines. Students must contact their international advisor before going to the U.S. Embassy. An application for an F-1 visa must include:
- Current, valid I-20 and endorsement
- Payment for Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) fees, if applicable
- Updated financial documents
- An updated Affidavit of Support
- Passport valid for at least six months
- An Educational Plan
- Official transcripts
- A letter from international advisor
Upon the student's arrival to the U.S., students must bring their original passport, I-20 and a copy of their I-94 document to the International Office. For additional information, contact your international advisor.
F-2 dependents are the legal spouse and/or unmarried minor children of an F-1 student. The F-2 dependents may accompany the student to the United States or join him/her at a later date. F-2 dependents are not allowed to study unless the study is in an elementary or secondary school. If an F-2 wishes to study full-time, he/she must apply to change to an F-1 status. For more information about adding a dependent or changing status to an F-1 or F-2, talk to your international advisor.
You may wish to travel internationally while attending Seminole State as an F-1 student. You must have certain documents and follow procedures to be allowed back in the United States.
- You must have an endorsed I-20 form.
- The International Student Office must sign page three of your I-20. If you leave the U.S. without this signature, you may not be allowed to re-enter. Make an appointment with the International Student Office at least two weeks before you travel.
Traveling to Canada, Mexico or Adjacent Islands (other than Cuba)
If you are going to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean for fewer than 30 days, you must have the following to re-enter the United States:
- An endorsed I-20 form
- A valid passport
Note: If you are from Iraq, Iran or Libya, you must have a valid visa to re-enter the United States. This is regardless of your destination.
Other International Travel
When traveling to other international destinations, you will need to have the following to re-enter the United States:
- A valid F-1 visa
- An endorsed I-20 form
- A valid passport
You must have a valid visa to re-enter the United States. If you do not have a valid visa, you may obtain one in:
- Your home country
To obtain a new visa, you may need:
- An endorsed I-20 form
- Your passport
- A status letter from the international student advisor
- New financial support documents
- A copy of your transcripts
Visa application requirements vary. Call the Consulate Office in advance for more information.
An F-1 student may be considered eligible for reinstatement by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) if the student:
- Has not been out of status for more than five months at the time of filing the reinstatement application (or demonstrates that failure to file within the five month period was beyond his/her control).
- Does not have a record of repeated violations of immigration regulations.
- Is pursuing a full course of study.
- Has not engaged in unauthorized employment.
- Provides evidence of violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control, or reduction of course load without a DSO authorization.
- Is not deportable on any grounds other than the status violation for which reinstatement is being requested.
To start the process, email email@example.com or make an appointment with the International Student Office.
Regardless of your income, all international students must file income tax forms.
If you are an F-1 status student, you must:
- File tax form 8843 regardless of your income. This must be filed by mid-June.
- File a 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ form if your income is U.S.-sourced. This must be filed by mid-April.
You can download the forms at www.irs.gov.
When filing your tax forms, you may need a taxpayer ID number or a Social Security number:
- If you are filing form 8843, you do not need a taxpayer ID or Social Security number.
- If you are filing form 1040NR-EZ, you must have a Social Security or a taxpayer ID number.
Contact the International Student Office if you need one of these numbers.
The International Student Office is not qualified or permitted to help you complete your tax forms. There are many complex treaties between the U.S. and other countries that could influence how your forms are completed. For assistance, refer to a professional company that exists to help in these matters.
Note: Tax laws may change. If such changes occur, you may obtain updated information from the International Student Office.
Please complete the following steps to transfer from Language Institute to college-credit courses and/or the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program:
- Complete a Seminole State College application. Note: At this time, international students must submit a printed Application for Admission.
- Have your foreign transcripts evaluated by a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) approved agency, such as SpanTran, World Education Services or Josef Silny and Associates.
- Meet with your international advisor to make an appointment to take the PERT placement test at the Assessment and Testing Center.
- Complete the Seminole State College Online Orientation.
- Attend the Immigration Orientation for College Students.
- Update your I-20 for college credit. It is illegal to enroll in college-credit courses with an I-20 for language courses.
- Blue & Gold cards: Student ID cards (the Blue & Gold card) can be requested in the Student Center on the Sanford/Lake Mary campus, the Security Desk (OVF-101) at the Oviedo campus, Room A-132A on the Altamonte Springs campus, or in the front lobby of the Heathrow Center. The first card is no charge. Replacement cards are $10. For more detailed information regarding the Blue & Gold card, including hours of operation, please visit the ID Card website.
- Parking Passes: After obtaining a Blue & Gold card, students can request a parking permit for free through the Parking System using their MySeminoleState login. Students are required to have a parking permit to park on campus.